Gilbert’s Guide to Sending Money to Scammers
Ever since he started scambusting, Gilbert has “sent money” to 419 scam artists using a variety of methods. There are many ways of transferring money around the world. Some of them, for example Western Union, actually exist, while others exist only in Gilbert’s fevered imagination.
Of course, when we talk about Gilbert “sending money” to scammers, it is important to remember that at no time is money actually transferred to them. The important thing is to make the scammer believe that he has been sent money. The other important thing, of course, is to make sure that the scammer humiliates himself as much as possible while trying to collect the money.
Here is a brief guide to the methods Gilbert has used when “sending money” to scammers.
The oldest, and possibly still the best method of making scammers humiliate themselves. Western Union is a real method of transferring money around the globe and is very popular with 419 scammers, as it enables them to collect large amounts of money without having to give details of a bank account to their victims. All the scammer has to do to collect money that is transferred to them via Western Union is to visit their local Western Union agent, give them the ten-digit money transfer control number (MTCN) of the transfer and answer a test question, which is information they will have been given by their victim. They may also have to provide some form of identification when they collect the money.
Gilbert has used Western Union more often than any other method to “send money” to 419 scammers. When he first started scambusting, all the scammers would ask for was the MTCN of the transfer and the answer to the test question, and they would happily trot off to their local Western Union agent with any old ten-digit number and a made-up question and answer. However, the scammers seem to be getting wise to scambusters tricking them over fake Western Union payments, because they now always ask for a scanned copy of the receipt before they will trot off to the agent.
In order to counter this, Gilbert has taken to forging Western Union receipts and sending them to scammers. You can find examples of Gilbert’s forged Western Union receipts throughout the scambusts in this website, and an example appears below:
One disadvantage of “sending money” to scammers via Western Union is that the scammer can use the Western Union website to check whether a transfer has actually been made, simply by typing in the MTCN of the transfer. If this doesn’t exist, the scammer immediately becomes suspicious. To get around this problem, you may notice that whenever Gilbert tells a scammer that he has made a transfer via Western Union there is always some sort of technical problem with the Western Union computer system. That’s usually enough to persuade the scammer to head off to the Western Union agent with their forged receipt to face the usual humiliation.
Interestingly, some Western Union agents recognise Gilbert’s receipts as forgeries immediately (resulting in an angry email from the scammer demanding to know why they have been sent a forged receipt), whereas others don’t seem to realise that the receipts are forged.
Scammers seem to be slightly less keen to use Western Union nowadays, partly because Western Union has started to take steps to reduce the amount of advance fee fraud that is carried out using its network. There are now warnings about the dangers of 419 fraud in most, if not all, Western Union agents, and Western Union have reduced the amount of money that can be sent to individuals in certain countries in which 419 fraud is rife. However, if every other method of money transfer fails, scammers will always resort to using Western Union, even if it means asking their victims to transfer the money in four or five separate lots. And all other methods inevitably do fail whenever Gilbert’s involved.
It is worth remembering that the Western Union money transfer system is used for thousands of completely legitimate transactions every day, and Western Union does not condone advance fee fraud in any way. It is unfortunate that the nature of Western Union transactions make them attractive to 419 scammers. However, Western Union does take commission on each transfer that goes through their system, whether legitimate or not, so they do profit from advance fee fraud. Some have argued that Western Union could do more to warn individuals about the dangers of advance fee fraud at the point at which they make transfers, and that doing so would make life even harder for the 419 scammers that abuse the Western Union system.
Click here to access a blank Western Union receipt that you can use yourself.
The MoneyGram system is very similar in operation to the Western Union system, with a reference number and test question and answer, but it doesn’t seem to be as popular with scammers for some reason.
It is worth noting that whereas the Western Union MTCN is a ten-digit number, the MoneyGram reference number has only eight digits. An example forged receipt is shown below:
Click here to access a blank MoneyGram receipt that you can use yourself.
Guaranteed International Money Provision Service
The Guaranteed International Money Provision Service (GIMPS) was the first money transfer system to be invented by Gilbert. He first used it in October 2003 and it has been in frequent use ever since.
GIMPS, which of course does not exist, was Gilbert’s first attempt to persuade scammers to go from bank to bank in a fruitless search for one that accepts a fictional money transfer scheme with a ridiculous acronym. Forged receipts like the one below help to persuade scammers to spend considerable amounts of time doing just that:
I always wonder if any of the cashiers find it amusing when a scammer comes into the bank and asks them for a “GIMPS form”.
Federal United Consolidated Worldwide International Transfer Service
The Federal United Consolidated Worldwide International Transfer Service (FUCWITS) is another of Gilbert’s invented money transfer systems, this time with a more offensive acronym. First used in September 2004, it looks set to become a regular feature of Gilbert’s scambusts. An example forged receipt is shown below:
Transglobal Worldwide Automated Transfer System
The Transglobal Worldwide Automated Transfer System (TWATS) is Gilbert’s third invented money transfer system. Like FUCWITS, TWATS was also first used in September 2004, and it too should see regular use in the future. An example forged receipt is shown below:
Consolidated Universal National Transfer System
The Consolidated Universal National Transfer System (do I have to spell it out?) is Gilbert’s fourth invented money transfer system. CUNTS was first used in January 2006. An example forged receipt is shown below:
United Monetary Universal Priority Payment Express Transfer
The United Monetary Universal Priority Payment Express Transfer system (UMUPPET) is Gilbert’s latest invented money transfer system. UMUPPET was first used in January 2007. An example forged receipt is shown below:
Traditional bank transfers
As Western Union falls increasingly out of favour, more and more scammers seem to be turning to traditional bank transfers when they ask their victims for money. These are no fun at all from a scambusting point of view, as they offer no chance to make the scammer humiliate themselves; once you have “sent money” to a scammer via a bank transfer, the scammer does not have to anything to collect the money other than sit back and wait for the transfer to be completed.
To liven up the otherwise dull bank transfer, Gilbert invented the Worldwide Automatic Banking Intelligence Tracking System (WABITS). First used in June 2004, WABITS (run by a Mr E Fudd) cuts in automatically and cancels any bank transfers that Gilbert makes to scammers’ bank accounts, warning that the account to which he is attempting to transfer money is flagged in WABITS as being used for criminal purposes. Gilbert has used forged WABITS reports, like the one below, to persuade scammers that they are on the verge of being arrested by the authorities:
To keep ahead of the scammers, Gilbert more recently invented the Banking Intelligence And Fraud Reduction Agency (BIAFRA), first used in May 2006, which operates along similar lines to WABITS.
Of course, once WABITS or BIAFRA cuts in to stop a bank transfer, Gilbert can persuade the scammer to resort to a more tried and tested method of transferring money, such as Western Union, MoneyGram, GIMPS, FUCWITS, TWATS, CUNTS or UMUPPET, with pleasantly predictable results.
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